Robert Falzon to succeed Mark Grier as Vice Chairman
By Linda Fung
Prudential’s longtime leader John Strangfeld will retire later this year, ending an 11-year run as chairman and CEO where he steered the company through the changing landscape of the financial services industry to become the premier provider of retirement, investment management and financial protection solutions.
He will be succeeded by Charles Lowrey, 60 years old, as the next CEO and member of the Board, effective December 1, 2018. Lowrey currently serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer, International Businesses of Prudential. Strangfeld, 64, who will retire as CEO on November 30, will serve as non-executive chairman until April 5, 2019, at which time Lowrey will also assume the role of chairman.
The company also announced today that Robert Falzon, 59, executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been named vice chairman of the company, effective December 1, 2018. He will succeed Mark Grier, 65, who will retire from Prudential and step down from the Board in August 2019, at which time Falzon will join the Board. Grier joined Prudential in 1995 as chief financial officer and was a key architect behind the company’s demutualization and initial public offering in 2001. Before joining Prudential, Grier was co-head of Chase Global Markets and an executive vice president of The Chase Manhattan Bank.
“Along with the rest of the Board, I am confident that Charlie is the right leader for Prudential’s future,” said Strangfeld. “Having successfully led our asset management, U.S. and international businesses, he brings a broad perspective of our operations, a deep understanding of our people and leadership skills that will serve the company well as it continues to grow.” He added that “both Charlie and Rob are outstanding executives with the capabilities to successfully execute Prudential’s strategy.”
In his 41-year career at the company, Strangfeld pushed Prudential beyond its insurance roots. He built an in-house investment department into one of the 10 largest global asset managers, established the company as the market leader in pension risk transfers and led the company’s international business expansion, now accounting for nearly 50 percent of operating earnings.
Strangfeld began working for Prudential as an investment analyst and remained in the investment division, where he eventually became CEO of Prudential Securities. He played a significant role in the 2003 joint venture between Prudential’s brokerage business and Wachovia and was instrumental in steering Prudential into the retirement marketplace through his involvement in the company’s acquisition of Cigna’s retirement business.
Prudential said today’s announcement is the culmination of leadership succession planning that the Board has been engaged in for the past several years and draws on a cultivated internal talent bench. “Because we want to continue our momentum in the market, we have taken a thoughtful, phased and long-term approach to this transition,” said Grier, who will continue to focus on a number of strategic projects through the completion of his tenure.
As part of Prudential’s succession planning process, the company will announce the selection of internal candidates to replace Lowrey and Falzon, and expects to name a new chief financial officer and a new chief operating officer of its International Businesses next week.